Florida blast brought greater light to early civil rights movement

MIMS, Fla. (WFLA) – Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore are little known civil rights activists from Florida.  The Moores lived in Mims, a tiny town along the space-coast, just east of Orlando.

On December 25, 1951, someone placed sticks of dynamite underneath the front porch of their modest shotgun home.

“That was the bomb that was heard around the world,” said Sonya Mallard, the Harry & Harriette Moore Cultural Complex Coordinator.

“They told me that people as far as Titusville came running to see what happened; they thought NASA blew up,” she said.

Harry T. Moore passed away that day. His wife Harriette died nine days later.

Harry Moore was the statewide secretary of the NAACP at the time. He routinely registered black voters. He stood up and spoke out against lynching, which made the couple a target.

“They were the first couple that really took it by the horn. They didn’t want to sweep it under the rug,” Mallard said.

Many believe that blast shined a brighter light on the civil rights movement, a movement that greatly affected William Gary.

Gary is the president of the Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Cultural Complex, the board that oversees the Moore Memorial Park & Museum in Mims. He dedicated several years of his life to the park, which includes a replica of the Moore home. Gary wants more people to know about the Moores and the sacrifice they made for freedom.

“The early civil rights movement received a tremendous boost and the interest in their story has just grown by leaps and bounds over the years,” Gary said.

“It’s a very emotional thing for me. I grew up in the segregated south, in Mississippi, in the hotbed of civil rights history. So, my ability to get a college education, to be an engineer and work for NASA is a direct result of things they were fighting for back then,” Gary said.

The museum is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays, from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information, log on to http://www.harryharriettemoore.org.

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